East Ayrshire Council is working hard to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last few weeks the Scottish Government has announced a number of different supports for businesses and the Council’s Finance team together with colleagues in Economic Development have been working at pace to process Business Grant applications to ensure funds can be released to businesses at the earliest opportunity.
This has been a major logistical task for a small team and it is to their credit that a significant majority of applications received were processed within the 10 working days we committed to at the outset.
These grants aim to support small businesses, and those medium sized businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector, who are liable for non-domestic rates. Local businesses may be eligible to apply for either the Small Business Support Grant of £10,000 or the Retail, Hospitality, Leisure Support Grant of £25,000. The eligibility criteria for the grants has been set by the Scottish Government and businesses must have been registered for the Small Business Bonus Scheme or be in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector and have their rateable value within a specific range.
As at 24 April 2020, East Ayrshire Council had awarded 1,016 grants totalling £11.3 million.
Joe McLachlan, Interim Head of Finance and ICT at East Ayrshire Council advised:
“The majority of companies in East Ayrshire are small to medium-sized businesses and colleagues across the Council have been working incredibly hard to process these grants, providing a financial lifeline to businesses at this challenging time.
“We have designed our own online application form, based on the details supplied by the Scottish Government, to ensure we can process the applications quickly. This online process means we can assess, determine and pay eligible businesses without delay.
“These grants are available until 31 March 2021, and I would encourage those businesses that have not yet applied, and who are eligible, to apply.”
Councillor Jim Roberts, Cabinet member for Economy and Infrastructure with responsibility added:
“These grants will make a big difference to a lot of our small local companies who find themselves in difficult circumstances as a result of COVID-19.
“While not every business will be eligible, there are other support mechanisms coming on stream in the next few days. Council staff will be focusing on releasing that support as quickly as possible too. We are committed to supporting our business base where possible.”
For details on eligibility and to apply, please visit: http://www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/support
We want to understand how local businesses have been affected by COVID-19, what challenges (and in some cases the opportunities), you face, how you are responding and what support you are getting.
Please help us to help you by completing our survey – your responses will help shape a recovery strategy for East Ayrshire.
The more information you can give us about what you’re currently experiencing, the better we can target our assistance to support you and your business both now and in the future.
You can access our survey at http://www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/support
COVID-19 Scams Targeted at Business Grant Applicants
The fraud threat posed during emergency situations is higher than at other times. Now more than ever we need to be vigilant against fraudsters.
Across the UK fraudsters, typically posing as Government or Councils, are targeting businesses by email, making reference to the COVID business grants process, and asking businesses to confirm bank account details. The fraudsters don’t know that you have applied for a grant but are hoping to exploit vulnerabilities during the current emergency.
These emails are usually easy to spot as the email address does not follow the usual format of a Government or Council email address (e.g. @gov.uk, @gov.scot, @east-ayrshire.gov.uk). If in doubt check it out! Reporting Fraud: Report Fraud – Police Scotland